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Riverdale council members agree on name for park

After several exhausting debates and discussions over what to name the new multimillion dollar regional park in Riverdale, the city council has voted unanimously to name the park Riverdale Regional Park.

“We don’t want to open Pandora’s box,” said Riverdale Mayor Evelyn Wynn-Dixon. “I think naming the park [Riverdale Regional Park] will make it our own.”

The project has not been without controversy because many residents believe the city sacrificed the old Travon Wilson Park, in order to build its Town Center complex. Travon Wilson Park was named in honor of a local youngster who was killed, and the community rallied around his memory. When the city needed land for the Town Center project, it took the property on which Travon Wilson Park stood, and promised to build a bigger, better park elsewhere. Since the construction of the park began last year, council members said they were apprehensive this time around in getting the public opinion on what to name the park.

“Let’s just keep the snakes and the worms in the box,” said Council Member Wanda Wallace.

“I don’t think we should name the park after one individual but, we can honor Wilson by picking a place in the park and naming it after him,” said Council Member Ancil Davis.

City Manager Iris Jessie said the construction of phase one of the new park is estimated to cost $3 million, will be completed by August and will include a new baseball field, concession space and restrooms, a football/multipurpose field, pavilions, a children’s playground and picnic areas.

Plans for the second phase, she said, include a “sports complex” consisting of a baseball field with removable sports fencing, walking trails, a concession building with restrooms, a community building, and more parking. It will include a football/multipurpose field, pavilions, a children's playground and picnic areas. The new park will have twice the space as the former Travon Wilson Park and will be handicap accessible, Jessie said.

“The old park did not have these features, and so I think this will be good for the community," she said in a previous statement. “I think it will work out well.”

The City of Riverdale was recently awarded a $20,000 construction grant from a national non-profit KaBOOM! The grant will allow the city to purchase playground equipment for the city’s park. “This is a great honor,” Wynn-Dixon said in a previous statement. “It shows that we are improving as a city and we have good track record with working well with youth.”

Jessie, said that the city has plans on constructing two separate playgrounds, one that will be for the younger youth, and one for the older youth.